6 tips for mobile app testing3 min read
Software testing is a difficult task and testing mobile apps, especially consumer-oriented ones, can be an art in itself. Given the wide variety of mobile operating systems, device form factors, and usage scenarios, the task can be overwhelming. We offer some suggestions for ensuring the success of your mobile testing and ultimately your application deployment.
Tests don’t just happen
From mobile programming frameworks to management methodologies, tools often imply that testing is an integral part of the app development process and can trick you into thinking that it happens naturally during the development process. development. This is absolutely not the case, nor are modern manufacturing processes replacing the need to test products in the physical universe. Testing can be expensive and time consuming, but this cost must be weighed against the essential and incidental costs of delivering a product that does not work properly.
Opt for an agile approach as soon as possible
Most proponents of mobile development suggest a rapidly iterative approach to mobile app development. Not only does it speed up the development process, but it can also solve many of the user experience issues that plague a mobile app. If your developers and designers collaborate frequently, everything from text changes to font sizes can be resolved before you even begin a formal test cycle.
It’s tempting to assume that your internal team of testers and beta testers will catch the vast majority of flaws in your app just with their own device. This is often not the case; a little preliminary planning, ideally referencing your application’s list of functional requirements, can allow you to establish the critical and exceptional scenarios you want to test. This seemingly tedious task can save you time later, since every app upgrade, new device, or operating system update can go through the same battery of tests. Expand this library of test cases over time or even expand
Cross-platform compatibility is a lure
One of the big frustrations with the current state of mobile app development is that cross-platform app development tools simply don’t produce consistent code across different mobile operating systems. Even a relatively rudimentary app developed using cross-platform tools can have flaws that only exist on Android or iOS. When using cross-platform tools, just because your tests cover one specific platform doesn’t necessarily mean they cover another.
Involve all stakeholders in identifying defects
The majority of mobile app testers come from a development or design background and are bound to have this bias. So, a coding-bred manager might perceive a functional tweak as a critical defect, while a design-focused manager will view a font issue or color change as equally critical. Be sure to involve product, design, and technical representatives when determining which defects to address immediately and which to defer, especially as your release date nears.
Tools will help you, but won’t work miracles
There are a wide variety of tools available for testing mobile apps. At a rudimentary level, screenshots and spreadsheets can be efficient and fast. However, even a simple application will generate a large number of defects that need to be prioritized, assigned, tracked, and retested. That’s why your team of testers will benefit from providing them with useful tools. However, these tools cannot replace effective management, status reporting, and communication between product owners, designers, and developers. The tools can optimize an already successful team, but don’t expect them to transform a struggling team.
Many of these recommendations can be applied broadly to the full spectrum of testing, from product testing to traditional software testing. However, in mobile applications, tight deadlines, unreasonable expectations and market pressures eliminate the margin that can save a team of testers whose performance leaves something to be desired. By taking the time to plan an appropriate testing effort for your mobile app, you can make a difference in this fiercely competitive marketplace that is becoming increasingly intolerant of substandard products.
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